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Head of Interpreting Services

Job Description

About the EPO
The European Patent Office

With almost 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.

In 2017, the EPO received over 165 000 patent applications and granted over 105 000 patents. Its free online patent database, Espacenet, contains more than 100 million technical documents from 100 countries, and its free neural machine translation service, Patent Translate, provides instant, high-quality translation in 32 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

What we offer

  • intellectual challenges and empowerment through professional development
  • the chance to work with inspiring people from various different cultures
  • an excellent social package
  • contributory medical-insurance and pension schemes
  • relocation benefits and various allowances (e.g. household, dependants', childcare, education, expatriation, installation and rent allowance), depending on their personal circumstances


Job group: 4
Grade: G7-G10 (net (basic) monthly salary* for this vacancy: EUR 5 500 to 7 800, depending on experience)
Duration of appointment: five years
Career path: Managerial
Location: Munich
Application deadline: 30.07.2018

The Language and Document Services directorate plays a vital part in the work of the Office. Its main function is to provide translation and interpreting for the three official languages, but it also carries out other tasks, such as maintaining a sophisticated terminology database and editing texts by non-native speakers, all of which are essential to any modern organisation that values quality and consistency in communication.

As head of Interpreting Services you will be responsible for managing a dynamic and enthusiastic team of seven in-house translation and interpreting support staff, as well as 140 freelance conference interpreters and around 50 freelance translators and translation agencies.

Your main responsibilities


  • Planning and co-ordinating interpreter assignments (approx. 5 000 interpreter days/year) at the EPO's various locations
  • Selecting and assigning interpreters in the three official languages as well as in other languages as required (primarily Asian languages)
  • Providing requesters with advice and information
  • Drawing up contracts and sending out invoices
  • Ensuring appropriate working conditions for interpreters (interpreter booths)
  • Outsourcing translations to external translators and agencies


  • Managing the in-house translation and interpreting support staff and dealing with organisational matters (e.g. the further development of existing processes, including automation and workflow)

Quality control

  • Regular monitoring of all interpreters in the EPO's pool, including drawing up evaluation reports
  • Monitoring new interpreters, including carrying out initial assessments

Customer management

  • Dealing with complaints from requesters and interpreters


  • Recruiting qualified conference interpreters for the EPO's pool on the basis of established criteria
  • Selecting, training (particularly with regard to the legal and technical requirements specific to EPO oral proceedings) and monitoring new interpreters within the framework of the EPO's quality control system for freelance conference interpreters

Budget planning

  • Drawing up budget estimates for the interpreting service (annual budget: EUR 7m) and outsourcing translations to external language service providers


  • Simultaneous and consecutive interpreting at oral proceedings, conferences and other meetings

Co-operation with international institutions

  • Maintaining contacts with other international organisations and university conference interpreting departments
  • Co-operating with the heads of interpreting at other international institutions in relevant areas

What we expect from you

  • Many years of practical experience as a conference interpreter, as well as experience in planning and leading interpreter teams at international events and conferences and, preferably, many years of experience in a managerial role in a language service
  • Very good planning and organisational skills, a high level of commitment and resilience, excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills and a high standard of communication skills, both oral and written, in the three official EPO languages

Your qualifications

  • Diploma of completed university studies at Master's level or - in exceptional cases - equivalent professional experience
  • Excellent knowledge of one official language and the ability to understand the other two.
  • In addition, due to the specific nature of this job profile in the Language Service, native speaker level in one of the official languages and thorough knowledge of the other two official languages.
  • Citizenship of one of the member states of the European Patent Organisation

The successful candidate will be selected on the basis of qualifications and experience, supplemented by interviews, tests and/or a personality questionnaire.
It is intended to hold the interviews in Munich in week 36/37.

* after deduction of EPO internal tax and before deduction of staff contributions to the social-security and pension schemes.

To foster gender diversity, EPO encourages applications from female candidates.

The EPO is an equal opportunities employer and supports workforce diversity as a signatory to the Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt) since 2010.
All applications for vacant positions will be welcomed and considered on the professional merits of the applicant against the role profile for the position regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, parental responsibilities, age, religion or belief.

Ref: 4.4.6 (Language and Document Services) (9022)


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